The Norwegian public health agency (FHI) suspended the use of the coronavirus contact tracking application after an order by the country’s data protection officer regarding the collection and use of users’ location data. FHI also deleted all the information collected so far by the application.
Norwegian privacy regulator Datailsynet expressed concern about how the app called Smittestopp collects both GPS location data and Bluetooth data from users. The appraisal said the application “cannot be considered an interference proportionate to users’ basic privacy rights.”
In a statement, the observer said, “We believe that FHI does not show that location data is absolutely necessary for infection detection,” and suggested that the application use only data collected via Bluetooth, and “EU countries have developed infection tracking applications based solely on Bluetooth technology, not GPS location data. “
What the numbers say: According to Johns Hopkins University, there were 8,639 confirmed Covid-19 and 242 fatalities in Norway.
The practice was being tested in three parts of the country, but since the infection rate in these regions was low, the health authority said it was difficult to test whether Smittestopp reported last week’s “really exposed”. against infection ”.
The watchman also questioned the “lack of freedom of choice for users” who signed up for the application.
According to Datailsynet, the data required to monitor infections were also used for analysis and research, where the regulator had two different purposes and required “different personal information”.
There were also concerns about how the collected data remained anonymous. Datailsynet Director Bjørn Erik Thon said, “There is no solution for anonymizing and collecting data for analysis. “Still, the app constantly collects personal information from all users,” Thon added.
FHI did not participate in the regulator’s assessment.
In a statement, FHI Director Camilla Stoltenberg said that suspension of the application will “weaken a significant part of our preparation for the spread of the infection because we are wasting time developing and testing the application”. Stoltenberg warned that the epidemic has not ended, stating that “Without Smittestopp implementation, we will not have enough equipment to prevent new outbreaks locally or nationally.”
Stoltenberg added: “We hope that it will be possible to find a solution for the long-term implementation of infection reporting and analysis of infection control measures.”
FHI is there until June 23 to fix issues raised by the editor.